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tv   [untitled]    June 20, 2011 1:30pm-2:00pm PDT

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supervisor chu: hello. welcome back to the budget and finance committee. we are back from recess. we left off with the annual budget this coming year and had gone through a number of departments. we did leave off at the city attorney. so i would like to invite our city attorney, mr. dennis arra -- dennis herrera. >> 94 the opportunity to discuss our proposed budget for next fiscal year with you. as many of you are aware, the city attorney's office provides general counsel advised to over 100 city departments, agencies, and commissions. drabs theory the legislation that implements all your wonderful ideas. negotiates contracts, business,
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labor contracts, handles over 4000 claims a year and acts affirmatively stepping into the general office of the city california. i am aware that some departments have provided you powerpoint presentations, and i will spare you that. we know that time is of the essence for you as you review. i am happy to report that we have been in consultation with the budget analyst and with respect to our proposed budget, we are in agreement with -- in
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concept with the recommendations that have come from the budget analyst. we're just still identifying exactly what hot -- pot those additional cuts should come out of, but we do not have a problem with that whatsoever, and we have worked with them over the course of the last week. i would just like to highlight for you in addition to the cut that the budget analyst is proposing, note that you are seeing a level of general fund support that is decreasing in the city attorney's office in the amount of about $915,000 or so, which is a reduction of 12.5% of our general fund contribution from last fiscal year. so our general fiscal -- general fund support is going down to $6,305,643. the budget analyst is recommending an additional cut, which i said we do not have any
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problem with conceptually, and we will work out the details of the where that additional money -- exactly what pot it should come out of. i know there has been some discussion, and it has been desired that you would like some information with respect to what our five-year financial plan is. i will say that we anticipate that we will see about 8% to 10% financial growth over the course of the next five years. that is mainly due to salaries and fringe benefits that our lawyers and other folks will see an increase in over that time. about 95% of our budget is just made up of salaries and benefits. when there are increases going to city employees, that is where we experience whatever growth we have. over the course of the last several years, we have cut -- we have renegotiated our office lease. we have renegotiated all of our outside vendor contract with respect to legal research and periodicals that we are
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provided, and really, what is left for us to deal with is salaries and fringes, but that is what we anticipate. the one unpredictable part of that is you were aware that we had to come in to this board during this year for supplementals. oftentimes, we have and anticipated litigation -- unanticipated litigation that the explosion is quite high. whether it is ada access or a large public works contracts that money has not been budgeted for the litigation from our general fund department, but the potential exposure oftentimes is in the tens of millions of dollars. we try to find that to the degree that we can with the existing resources that we have, but there are times that we have to come back often times with our sponsoring department to see the supplemental from the board of supervisors. the reason i bring that out, that is the type of thing that we cannot necessarily anticipate, but could arise at some point in the next five
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years i guess we have litigation that is anticipated, but is quite costly, which could impact what it is that we need to do. i do not see any broader were big initiatives that i plan on implementing in the near future that would necessitate significant additional resources in a city office, and we would be able to handle those in the conference and our budget and with you. like i said, we will continue to work with the budget analyst, but you're sort open to any questions that any members of the committee have. supervisor chu: thank you. i have two quick questions. one of the issues brought up in the report was the affirmative litigation account, and that is -- i guess it allows use some discretion to be able to pursue some public-interest cases. can you speak about how it is you make your decisions on the
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kinds of cases you pursue and what is out there? >> i think the affirmative litigation program of the city attorney's office has been something that has been a tremendous boon to both the tax payers and the citizenry. if you look at the nature of the cases that we bring in our affirmative litigation program, there are things that i think represent looking out for the best interest of all said redskins. whether it be done litigation or cigarette litigation -- those are things that have been utilize. -- for the best interests of all san franciscans. wherever there is cutting edge, proactive, consumer litigation -- usually -- or sometimes really protecting health and safety, we will pursue that. we get approached a lot of folks, and what i try and decide and how i reach my decision about cases that we should pursue is is there something --
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a vacuum that is not being filled by the private bar? and two, is there something you need that having -- unique that having the weight of the city attorney's office -- do we fill a vacuum where we're doing something that benefits our citizens? is it something that no one else is doing what it calls for the full weight of the city attorney's office to get involved, and can we make a real difference? there are plenty of cases i do not get involved in, but there are obviously a number that i do get involved in. there are cases which actually it would be worthwhile for me to get involved in them, but the vacuum is already being filled by the private bar and i did not have something new to bring to the debate, i generally do not get involved. that is kind of how to make the decisions. looking at things like the moran power plant or marriage equality -- those types of things, i -- those types of things, i think that calls for the